I just dropped you off at school in your stylish outfit. You bounced down the sidewalk ready to greet the world as always. I even had to shush you at one point because the whole neighborhood didn’t need to hear it was your birthday. I’m sorry for that. I don’t mean to tamper your enthusiasm. I just have to fight my conditioned nature to not make a scene. You? Well, I should allow you to make more scenes.
Today, you wanted to catch up with your friends. You wanted to race ahead. But I asked you to stop. To help. To grab your very sad little brother by the hand and help, please, please, help me, get him inside the building. I’m so near broken that I’m asking the help of my birthday girl. For that I’m sorry too.
You did. You stopped and looked at me and I could tell by your face you wanted to protest. I could tell you wanted nothing to do with us. We’re already on slippery ground because I declared fourth grade the year I stand up to the tide and stop bringing in treats for your birthday. You’re already unsure of me-and whose side I’m on. But, you didn’t argue. You didn’t fight. You barely rolled your eyes. Instead you slowed down, grabbed your brother’s hand and led him right into the building. You were dependable. Just like you have been for ten years.
Ten years ago you were born and rocked my world. You made me question everything I was doing and think more about each individual decision than I ever had before. It was exhausting. But you were so rewarding with your predictable smiles and your endless chatter. Even as an infant, you were vocal. Even as an infant you were excellent company.
Now, here you are, on the cusp of leaving me. Zero-teen you call yourself. Those years can’t get here soon enough for you and they couldn’t terrify me more. I still think all the time about what’s best for you. You may not see it because I seem preoccupied with the boys, but I really do spend inordinate amounts of time worrying and wondering and planning and plotting how to do my best by you. The Boys are challenging, but you? Raising you well, giving you what’s good and keeping you away from my crazy? THAT is what consumes me.
You could be obnoxious. You aren’t. You could be sassy. You aren’t. You could be challenging me at every turn. You don’t. Instead, you see my struggle with your brother and you step in. You and your big, empathic heart. You step in and do the hard thing, to help your mom and your little brother. You step in to make our lives easier.
For ten years you’ve made our world better. For ten years I’ve tried to do right by yours. Thank you for being you. I promise I’ll keep trying to be a better me.
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Bridget Rahill Roach says
Cris, I am on a plane right now and just crying over this post. I am never on Facebook and so the very rare instances that I am I NEVER have time to click through to anything and read it. I just quickly scan the news feed. So glad I read this. I love the way you write to your kids, chronicle their lives. I love the way you capture just how it is at that moment – good or bad. You will be so glad, I’m sure already are, that you do this. Your kids will be so appreciative that you took the time to record these thoughts. They are lucky ones to have you but I could have told them that. I can tell how much you love them and, trust me, Faith knows for sure that you are on her side. xoxo, Bridget
This means the world to me. Thank you and safe travels!
Missy | Literal Mom says
Christie – so beautiful. What an awesome 10 year old you have! This brought tears to my eyes, because my girl is 1/2 way through 10 and so many of the things you said are happening here too. Sigh. It’s all happening so fast. Happy Birthday to her and Happy Birth Day to YOU, Mama!
Thank you so much. I agree-the old cliche is so darn true. It all goes by too fast-even if some days feel soooo slooow.:)